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Hampton gets past Randolph, then upsets Cannon Falls

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Over five days last week, the Hampton Cardinals played 51 innings of baseball. Thankfully, all those innings mattered as the Cardinals pulled off a major upset Saturday -- twice.

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The story begins last Tuesday as Hampton and Randolph faced off in the first round of the Class C amateur baseball playoffs in Cannon Falls. After six innings, the game was halted because of rain. It resumed Wednesday and Hampton won.

Hampton played Thursday and Friday in Cannon Falls, essentially setting up a big series against Cannon Falls on Saturday. Hampton had to beat Cannon Falls twice in order to advance, and that's exactly what the Cardinals did. They did so in dramatic fashion.

Hampton beat Cannon Falls in the first game, 12-8, in 15 innings thanks to a four-run 15th.

In the second game, Hampton scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning to advance in the tournament.

"To come all the way back and beat them twice at their ballpark was pretty unbelievable, really," said Ryan Giefer, one of the Cardinals. "It was exciting for us. They've got a really good team. They took third place in state last year. To knock them out was good."

In the first game Saturday, Rick Wagner started on the mound for the Cardinals. He threw eight innings. The final seven innings were thrown by Duane Slinde, who eventually got the win.

In the top of the 15th, Hampton scored four runs to get the win. Brandon Boyd, the team's leadoff hitter, had five hits. Rob Giefer had four hits.

In the second game Saturday, Wagner again started, throwing another eight innings to bring his one-day total to 16 frames. There was just a half-hour break between the two games.

"They talked about maybe moving the second game until Sunday, but we just wanted to get it over with," Ryan Giefer said. "We had been down there Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Five days in a row? We were just beat up."

Hampton jumped out to quick 3-0 lead in the first inning. In the top of the ninth, Cannon Falls scored three runs to tie the game.

In the bottom of the ninth, though, Boyd reached base with two outs and eventually stole second. He scored on a base hit by Dan Kieffer, and the Cardinals advanced.

Boyd finished with three hits, bringing his one-day total to eight.

"He was definitely the hitting star for us in those last two games," Ryan Giefer said.

Hampton advances to a five-team region tournament, where they earned the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye.

Hampton will play the winner of St. Patrick and Prior Lake at 8 p.m. Friday in Cannon Falls.

If the Cardinals win, they'll play Sunday in Hampton.

The other two teams in the double-elimination tournament are New Prague and Montgomery.

The Cardinals have a 14-15 record on the season.

They drafted two players from Cannon Falls. Pitchers Keith Myers and Robert Burr have joined the Cardinals.

Wednesday

Hampton won its first game in the tournament on Wednesday night, 9-3, over Randolph.

The game had begun Tuesday night and was continued Wednesday after rain began falling Tuesday in Cannon Falls.

Thursday

Hampton lost to Cannon Falls on Thursday night, 8-4.

Keith Myers of Cannon Falls struck out 14 Hampton batters in the game, but the Cardinals were still in it at the end. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, a few errors meant the difference between winning and losing.

"We had a couple costly errors," Ryan Giefer said. "That really hurt."

Duane Slinde pitched for Hampton and allowed 12 hits and four earned runs. He struck out five and walked three.

Friday

Hampton and Randolph met up again, this time on Friday. Hampton won, 13-6.

Centerfielder Joe Robinson collected four hits, as did Ryan Giefer.

Ryan Illa pitched for Hampton. He allowed one earned run over eight innings.

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Chad Richardson
Chad Richardson is the publisher and editor at the Hastings Star Gazette. He was the general manager of the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages from 2000 to 2007. He previously worked at the Star Gazette from 1996 to 2000 as a photographer and reporter. He also worked as a photographer and writer at the Pope County Tribune in Glenwood.
(651) 319-4500
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